How Do You Overlook Bad Online Profiles?

Hi Evan,

As a result of reading Finding the One Online and following your advice blog I’ve become a much more savvy online dater. I have an engaging profile, attractive current pics and a positive attitude. But, the more skilled I’ve gotten at playing the online dating game the more frustrated I’ve become with the shoddy profiles that men post. I’ve changed but men haven’t. I’m still dealing with the same short, shallow, generic profiles and blurry, taken-in-the-bathroom photos. But now I have far less patience for these than I used to. I try to give guys the benefit of the doubt. I remind myself that these men haven’t had the benefit of coaching and are doing the best they know how. But, I still find myself incredibly frustrated and far more critical and dismissive. I don’t expect men to change, so how can I adjust my attitude so that I can be a more effective online dater?

Cassie

Dear Cassie,

Ah, the curse of knowing too much, being too smart, and placing ahead of the curve.

Nope, can’t say I’m familiar with it – but some dead Greek guy once observed that “an unexamined life is not worth living”.

If this is the case, you can surely kill off most everyone on Match.com.

…by letting your perception of these men dictate your feelings about online dating, you’re the one who loses.

The thing to remember is that perception is not reality, and by letting your perception of these men dictate your feelings about online dating, you’re the one who loses.

So let’s reframe:

A few months ago, a bright, creative, well-intentioned woman – let’s call her “Cassie” – has just about had it with online dating.

Her best dating prospect disappeared into thin air, and the only two emails she’s gotten this week came from fat men 25 years older who live two states away.

Yep, Cassie’s hit bottom, and she knows that SOMETHING has to change. And if she is, in fact, the main attraction in Loserville, there has to be something she can do to change her ZIP code to a more desirable, upscale location.

She goes back to this blog she’s been reading for a few years – some pretentious, know-it-all-guy with three names –  and while he seems to know what he’s talking about, she’s always resisted paying for his advice.

Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?

…the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

But Cassie is bright. She knows that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. To continue on this online dating path the same way would be the height of insanity.

She finally breaks down and invests in this blogger’s program, Finding the One Online (a handsome 7 CD set, 180 page transcript, and 35 page workbook!).

It’s delivered to her within 3-5 business days, she downloads it on her iPod and listens to it in the car. And, much to her surprise, the material is really interesting – and much more thorough than anything he’s ever discussed on his blog.

Soon, Cassie has revamped her generic old profile, swapped out her photos for some active, smiling, updated pics, and has a much more proactive positive attitude about the whole endeavor. And, sure enough, men are paying attention.

The only problem is that she still feels like the mayor of Loserville.

She knows it’s irrational to feel this way – since, clearly, these men haven’t had any coaching. But she can’t help herself. The webcam photos, the “work hard/play hard” guys, the ones who cut and paste form letters with their phone numbers… it’s all too much. “How can I be less critical and dismissive?” she wonders aloud.

Here’s what you’re missing, Cassie.

3 months ago, YOU were the average woman… You’re living proof that amazing people can be really average-to-poor online daters.

You had old pictures.

You had a generic profile, filled with adjectives.

3 months ago, YOU were the average woman.

You had a bland way of emailing men.

You had a distorted perception of how online dating really worked.

Now imagine a guy like me sees your old pictures and generic profile…

Should I get angry that you haven’t marketed yourself better?

Should I dismiss you because you didn’t have anything original to say?

Should I get frustrated that my online dating “skill set” is superior to yours?

I think the answer is always “no”. Because you’re living proof that amazing people can be really average-to-poor online daters. And if you’d want a smart and savvy guy to give you a shot three months ago, it’s probably in your best interests to be a little more generous to the have-nots of PlentyOfFish.com.

It’s a truism that I bring up all the time with private clients when they ask me for coaching, but think that the big problem is EVERYBODY ELSE.

I’ll say something like, “I totally get why you’re frustrated. All your observations about men and online dating are 100% true. But you know who’s going to be the same after 12 weeks of coaching? Men. So if men are the only problem here, we’re screwed. Literally the ONLY things we can change are how you’re approaching and understanding men, dating, and relationships. We can’t change men.”

Literally the ONLY things we can change are how you’re approaching and understanding men, dating, and relationships. We can’t change men.

Most of my clients get it very quickly.

So, I’ll completely defend you, Cassie, when you observe that 85% of men’s profiles are subpar. But I would also point out to you that, before you did Finding the One Online, yours was probably pretty average, too.

I can tell you that my wife’s profile was pretty average, too. She has a great personality, but isn’t really much of a writer. Nor did she quite understand why adjectives are such a bad idea for a profile.

From all I’ve observed after 10 years in the online dating business, I can tell you for certain that:

The best profiles are not necessarily indicative of the best people. They’re just the best writers/marketers who understand how to stand out and differentiate themselves. Is there a correlation between a great profile and a smart guy? Yes. But don’t assume that men who don’t have great profiles aren’t smart. It’s simply not true.

Similarly, there are millions of men who have short, generic profiles simply because they filled it out in five minutes and wouldn’t know what to do without considerable coaching.

They are not bad men. Or stupid men. Or uninterested-in-relationships men.

They’re just men, who are struggling, like you, to find an attractive person who ALSO has a measure of substance.

So please don’t get upset, Cassie, that collectively, men have a huge blind spot when it comes to online dating. Make the best of the situation by taking a chance on some of these average guys – and staying detached from the outcome.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

But if you quit – after all you’ve learned – I guarantee you that your Finding the One Online skills will not pay off.

Who knows, your future spouse might be the average guy you’re passing up right now…

To learn more about Finding the One Online, please click here:

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Comments:

  1. 61
    Selena

    Back to the income disclosure on dating sites:

    What I’ve found in offline dating is that personal income is not necessarily an indication of generosity.  Some people may have had the experience of dating someone who made 2,3,4 times as much money as themselves, but still expected to split the cost of dates, or wouldn’t  go places that required any expenditure at all.

  2. 62
    starthrower68

    @Joe #60,

    They’re preying on ayone they think they can get on the hook.   Evidently they’ve been successful enough to keep doing it.  Of course if it’s money you’re after, targeting a single parent is prolly not the best route to go.  While I’m sure there are some wealthy single parents out there, the majority of us are not.

    @ Selena,

    I would submit that you are far above average intelligence and look deeper when it comes to income, i.e. debt ratio.  If a guy fibs about his income and a woman jumps on that as a reason to be with him, neither one of them are looking very far beyond the surface. 

    I would also submit that if somone fudges on their income, that may set up certain expectations in the mind of the date; not that the date is necessarily a gold-digger, but they are natural conclusions to make.  Obviously there are always exceptions.  But until we meet someone and know them, we might draw some general conclusions at first.

  3. 63
    JuJu

    Joe #52: “@ JuJu (#50): There’s nothing that says a successful businessman (successful anything, really) has to drive a Lexus.”
     
    Not to continue beating a dead horse, but I just thought of an analogy. Imagine you are corresponding by e-mail and talking on the phone with a woman who keeps stressing the importance of a healthy lifestyle for her, and then you meet in person and she turns out to be significantly overweight. And I am sure stuff like that actually does happen.

  4. 64
    kat3281

    I think that when is comes to the Nigerian scammers, it was more commonly successful when internet dating was new and in areas with few local choices. For both, people were more willing to travel to meet someone and spent more time developong a pseudo-relationship online before meeting. So people did fall for paying for plane tickets or wiring money, believing they found their soul mate.  I think they are less successful now that people are aware of it and have many more local choices, but they must still have some success to bother trying.

    For myself, I have also found that stated income and generosity do not always correlate. Men who make less than I do and have ex-wives and children often plan a nice dinner out and pay. Others, who state income twice mine with no ex/kids just want coffee, etc. or in other ways show to stingy.  You really can’t know what their debt, spending habits, etc. are until you get to know them better.  But personally, if a guy tells me he has kids to support and I see a stable job, hard-worker and he asks if coffee is okay or the park or something cheap, that to me is better than they guy who is simply cheap or has to qualify you for a “real money” date. Coffee often feels like a casting call and nothing else.

    I would rather see boring adjectives than one paragraph profiles or negative guys “can’t believe I am internet dating; no cheaters, fatties, or drama queens”  Some people are amazing writers and boring in person and vice versa, I tend towards giving people a chance if there are no red flags also. I also have learned not spend more than a few emails and a phone call or two before meeting in person, it is too easy to imagine a connection that isn’t there when you meet.

    I also have found that dating now in my 30’s is much harder than it was even 5 years ago. Many of the men really just aren’t over their ex-wives, no matter who initiated the divorce or how long ago it was, it is sad really. But men who have never been married or had children don’t really get my life as a single parent and although I still try, I have not had more than a few dates with anyone who has never been married since my own divorce. But you just keep trying to improve yourself to attract what you want and takes breaks when you get burn out. I prefer that to the alternative or giving up altogether.

  5. 65
    Karl R

    Selena said: (#61)
    “personal income is not necessarily an indication of generosity.  Some people may have had the experience of dating someone who made 2,3,4 times as much money as themselves, but still expected to split the cost of dates, or wouldn’t  go places that required any expenditure at all.”

    I would like to make an observation about what is implied in Selena’s post.

    I tithe. I give fairly regularly above and beyond my regular tithe. In addition, if a panhandler asks me for money for food, I’ll offer to buy them food (an offer which is sometimes accepted). But if I go on a date, my generosity is judged solely by what degree I spend money on the woman … someone who generally does not need my financial support.

    As a man, I don’t consider paying for the dates to be an act of generosity. It’s an act of enlightened self interest.

    As Evan said, “amazing people can be really average-to-poor online daters.” As a corollary, mediocre people can become very skilled daters. If you attribute generosity to someone just because they’ve learned that women expect men to pay for dates, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment….

    … Unless you’re simply using “generosity” as a euphemism for “he spends money on me.”

    As someone who became a skilled dater over the course of one or two years, being a nice guy or a good person doesn’t get your foot in the door. Attractiveness and dating skill were the key factors for that. Being a nice or good person did help further down the line (about the time the dating became exclusive, or a little later), but that’s meaningless if the relationship never gets to (or past) the first date.

    Before I get flooded with anecdotes about how some guy was rude to the waitress and therefore showed that he wasn’t a nice guy…
    A skilled dater would know that he should be courteous to the waitress (without ogling her or flirting with her), even if his natural tendencies were to be rude (or flirt, or whatever). Being unskilled hurts the jerks as much as it hurts the nice guys.

    As someone who became a skilled dater, I benefitted. And since I could sometimes figure out which women weren’t skilled daters (and therefore had fewer potential dates to choose from), I could approach them and seem far more appealing than any of their other prospects. In doing so, I benefitted again. And when women who are skilled daters consciously rule out men solely because they’re not skilled daters (regardless of how they choose to rationalize that decision), I benefit again.

    Evan isn’t just trying to teach skills in how to market yourself. He’s also trying to teach the skills which allow you to make conscious decisions which benefit you, not me.

  6. 66
    starthrower68

    Karl,

    I think what a man spends on a date can work as much against him as for him; I know that as a woman, my role is to graciously accept what a man offers.  But I don’t want him to “bust his budget” to impress me.  This, as in all things, moderation.   I want him to be smart with the money he has, whether he has a lot or he doesn’t.  How much he has is not my business unless I’m married to him.   But financial wisdom is indicative of other character traits, such as ability to delay gratification, maturity, etc.  
     
    And props to you for tithing!  Even as a single parent, that is the first thing that comes out of my paycheck.

  7. 67
    Joe

    @ JuJu (#63):

    That analogy doesn’t quite work.  A person who constantly talks about living a healthy lifestyle but is fat isn’t quite the same thing as a person who talks about being successful but drives an ordinary car.  If all he talked about was the luxury possessions he has (car, boat, mansion, etc.), you might have a point.  However, you can’t extrapolate the successfulness of someone’s business from the car they drive.

    Rich people don’t stay rich by spending their money.

  8. 68
    JuJu

    Actually, I could argue that to a businessman it is especially important to project success in every area of life, since most people construct purely superficial initial impressions.
     
    But like I said earlier, this is all a moot point :-), since I couldn’t imagine myself being attracted to the guy in any case.

  9. 69
    Jayne - Dating Profile Help

    Brilliant post, you are so right when you say, “the best profiles are not necessarily indicative of the best people. They’re just the best writers/marketers who understand how to stand out and differentiate themselves” Not all daters understand that if they take time to create a unique and irresistible profile they will then have a remarkable marketing tool which shows them off at their very best.
     
    One important point I should make here is that before anyone can sell themselves successfully to others, they must absolutely be sold on themselves, and also how they feel when they write their profile will have a lot to do with what their experiences are.

  10. 70
    I'm a girl

     Sayanta  said.. ” I don’t like it when the guy flat out says, “I have no problem meeting women.” I want to tell him that if he can meet women so easily, do it and leave online dating to the rest of us who don’t have such luck.”
    This kind of reminds me of growing up in FLA and all those people from NY living in FLA always saying how great NY is, I always wanted to say–so go there then!
     
    What if the picture with the cell phone is because they wanted a current pic to put up but maybe had a big zit just then so…cell phone cover up…  I mean really, stranger things have happened. 
     
    P.S. grammar…with an A, it’s kind of funny how someone complaining about people with poor spelling and grammAr cannot spell grammAr :-) LOL..maybe you should go a little easier on people huh?
     
    Karl R … did I make you laugh?

  11. 71
    I'm a girl

     Sayanta  said.. ” I don’t like it when the guy flat out says, “I have no problem meeting women.” I want to tell him that if he can meet women so easily, do it and leave online dating to the rest of us who don’t have such luck.”
    This kind of reminds me of growing up in FLA and all those people from NY living in FLA always saying how great NY is, I always wanted to say–so go there then!
     
    What if the picture with the cell phone is because they wanted a current pic to put up but maybe had a big zit just then so…cell phone cover up…  I mean really, stranger things have happened. 
     
    P.S. grammar…with an A, it’s kind of funny how someone complaining about people with poor spelling and grammAr cannot spell grammAr :-) LOL..maybe you should go a little easier on people huh?
     
    Karl R … did I make you laugh?

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